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Credit Rating Agencies, the Sovereign Debt Crisis and Competition Law

Nicolas Petit, European Competition Journal, 2011, Vol 7 No. 3, p. 587.
NB: This article is the winner of the academic category, unilateral conducts section of the 2012 Antitrust Writing Awards. Click here for all winning-awards articles

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Readers vote is closed since March 1st, 2012. Readers’ vote has nominated 2 articles for each of the Awards. This short list has been communicated to the Board, with the articles nominated by the Steering Committees. The Board will decide on the award-winning articles on March 27, at the Awards ceremony to take place in DC. See vote results online here.

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This paper explores the possibility of remedial intervention against the credit rating oligopoly under the competition rules. It is divided in six parts. Following an introduction, Part II provides an overview of the credit rating industry. Part III demonstrates that there is a possible economic case for antitrust intervention against the credit rating agencies ("CRAs"). Part IV examines the doctrines of competition law that could be applied against CRAs. Part V reviews possible remedies. Part VI provides a conclusion. The analysis is conducted on the basis of European Union competition law. Subject to national legal idiosyncrasies, it applies mutatis mutandis to other competition law regimes.

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